Major General Ron SMITS
Commander, Special Operations Forces, The Netherlands
Major General Ron Smits (1965) attended the infantry officer training course at the Royal Military Academy in Breda after completing his pre-university education, he attended the infantry officer training course. After graduating from the academyin 1987, he became platoon commander followed by a position as company commander with the 42 Armoured Infantry Battalion in Seedorf. In 1998, he completed the Advanced Military Studies course and was appointed Head of the Netherlands Training & Exercise Policy section with 1 German Netherlands Corps, based in Münster, in the rank of major. In this position, he was responsible for the education and training of Dutch units and carried out an operational task within the Joint Operations Centre. Following on from this, he became Head of Section G4 of 43 Mechanised Brigade in Havelte, where he was responsible for all logistic matters within the brigade. During this period, he was deployed as Head of the Joint Military Affairs Section within HQ Multinational Division South West (SFOR) in Banja Luka, Bosnia. In 2002, he taught the Advanced Military Studies course at the Netherlands Defence College in Rijswijk and in 2004, he returned to Havelte, was appointed battalion commander with 44 Armoured Infantry Battalion's 'Johan Willem Friso' Infantry Regiment until 2006. His battalion was part of NATO Response Force 4 where he became the Chief of Operations within Regional Command South in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as part of the ISAF mission. From 2008 to 2010, having returned to the Netherlands, he was assigned the position of Head of the Manoeuvre Section/Requirements Division within the Directorate of Operational Policy, Requirements and Plans. Following this, he was appointed Chief of Staff with 43 Mechanised Brigade in Havelte, in the rank of colonel. In this position, he was commander of the first rotation of the police training mission in Kunduz, Afghanistan in 2011. He was awarded the Medal of Merit in Gold and the US Meritorious Service Medal for his actions as commander. In 2013, he was posted to the Royal Netherlands Army staff, as Head of the Integration Division and in 2016, after being promoted to the rank of brigadier general, he was appointed Commander of Training Command in Amersfoort. In addition, he was the Coordinating Authority for the Royal Netherlands Army's entire Education, Training and Knowledge Development domain. In 2017, he became Commander of 11 Air Mobile Brigade 'Air Assault' 7 December, in Schaarsbergen. After having been the commander of the air assault brigade for almost four years, he was promoted to the rank of major general in 2021 upon his appointment as Commander of Netherlands Special Operations Command (SOCOM).